Report: Burr Dumped Up To $1.6M Of Stock After Reassuring Public About Virus
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) reportedly sold off up to $1.6 million of his holdings the week before the stock market began to crumble and America braced for the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The publication noted that as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr “has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security,” and his committee was getting daily coronavirus briefings around the time of his selling spree.
A week after Burr’s sell-off, the stock market started on a sharp decline, ProPublica noted, and has since lost about 30 percent of its value.
The senator was busy reassuring Americans around that time that the government and Congress were ready to address the coronavirus pandemic, writing an op-ed in which he said “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.”
Behind closed doors, however, Burr was singing a different tune.
NPR reported that a secret recording of the lawmaker speaking with North Carolina business leaders revealed he already knew in late February that the U.S. was in for a rough time.
“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history ... It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic,” he told the Tar Heel Circle club, also warning they would see school closures and potentially a military response on U.S. soil.
As for the types of stocks Burr unloaded in his February sale, ProPublica reported: “His biggest sales included companies that are among the most vulnerable to an economic slowdown. He dumped up to $150,000 worth of shares of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, a chain based in the United States that has lost two-thirds of its value. And he sold up to $100,000 of shares of Extended Stay America, an economy hospitality chain. Shares of that company are now worth less than half of what they did at the time Burr sold.”